How to Deal with People who have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder: Tips for Parents, Spouses, and Co-workers

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The only true way to deal with OCPD is through therapy, which can help tame some of the inflexibility that often accompanies OCPD. At the same time, it can be helpful to have some tips about how to deal with people who have obsessive compulsive personality disorder. Whether you have a parent, spouse, friend, or co-worker of a person who has this disorder, you can use these tips to help you deal with them in the most helpful way possible.

Realize Where They’re Coming From

One of the best ways to help you understand how deal with people who have obsessive compulsive personality disorder is to realise where they are coming from.

Your boss who has OCPD doesn’t want you to work overtime because he wants to ruin your life; he truly believes that if you care about your job, you’re willing to give it your all. After all, he probably does. Your spouse with OCPD isn’t micromanaging your part of a task because she thinks you’re incompetent; she truly feels like she must have control over exactly how everything is done, since her way seems to be the only way that makes sense. And your child with OCPD isn’t focusing on minute details of the task in order to avoid getting the job done; he seriously has a problem distinguishing the important aspects of the task from the less important ones.


When a person with OCPD approaches you with a problem, you may not think it seems like much of a problem at all. That doesn’t matter. Showing empathy for the person’s concerns will go a long way towards building up your relationship with the person who has OCPD. For example, if a subordinate in the office comes to you complaining about the fact that her co-workers have broken seemingly unimportant rules, you first need to show that you understand her complaint. Tell her that rules are important to you as well. Only then, after this display of understanding, let her know which rules are truly important and which ones are allowed to be bent at times. The same would apply to an OCPD child who gets lost in the details of a homework assignment, or the OCPD spouse who complains about wanting things to be done only in a certain way. Empathize first, give a different perspective second.

Focus on Their Strengths

Dealing with people who have OCPD can be especially difficult if you focus purely on their weaknesses, or on the parts of their personality that truly bothers you. But there are some aspects of OCPD that are actually the traits of a conscientious person. For example, the person with OCPD appreciates the value of hard work and is willing to put in intense effort to reach a goal. A person with OCPD may be careful with money, have strong morals or religious values, and have the capability to focus attention on one idea or detail for a long time. These strengths can come in handy in the academic world, in other employment sectors, and even in some social environments. Capitalize on these strengths, and point them out to the person with OCPD when possible.


“The Complete Guide to Understanding. Controlling, and Stopping Bullies,” by Margaret R. Kohut

This post is part of the series: Dealing With OCPD

Are you the spouse, child, or coworker of someone who has OCPD? If so, this series will give you information and tips that can be helpful with dealing with someone who has OCPD.

  1. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder Relationships
  2. Tips on How to Help The Person With OCD In Your Life
  3. How to Cope with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder Family Members
  4. Supporting Your Spouse With OCD
  5. What Do I Do if My Spouse Has OCPD?